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Jesus, Guns, and Self-Defense: What Does the Bible Say?

Unraveling the TRUTH about “Gun Control”

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7)

Message from the Editor: Maddie Jomolca

Over the recent weeks, especially, both Christians and non-Christians alike, have all weighed in on the (or one of) escalating crisis sweeping our nation, otherwise referred to as “gun control”, and it seems that there is growing confusion, on the premise of whether or not Christians should ‘bear arms”- carry a concealed weapon, with the intent of killing, even in cases of self-defense. While we can only consider that much, if not all of the confusion might stem from the misinterpretation of the sixth Commandment found both in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy –‘Thou shalt not commit murder”, or in some case erroneously interpreted as “Thou shall not kill”. – There is a great difference.
Murder as defined in the bible and the laws of man is a pre-meditated (pre-planned) act of taking another man’s life, and is, therefore considered an unlawful killing. Whereas ‘killing” is justified in scripture, by God not only in the context of hunting for food, as in Acts 10:13, where the Lord told Peter to “rise up, kill and eat”, but it is also justified as it pertains to warfare, capital punishment, and self- defense. Yes! – Self-defense!
So, why all the confusion amongst Christians when Liberty University’s founder – Jerry Falwell, Jr., in light of the growing violence and terrorist acts targeting “gun-free zones’ especially, publicly stood up for our Constitutions’ second amendment right? Well, one can only presume that at the root of the problem, it was in all likelihood, these are the very individuals that voted our very dubious, “new world order” agenda-driven, Commander-in-Chief into office, in the first place!
…As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord, bear arms, save lives and thrive… eternally!

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Gary DeMar – Godfather Politics

Good Christian? Bad Christian? It all depends on who’s doing the evaluating. The reaction to Jerry Falwell Jr.’s comments on encouraging students at Liberty University to be armed in case there is an ISIS attack at the school has led to a great deal of theological and political angst.

Brian D. McLaren, described as “one of the most influential Christian leaders in America and . . . recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America in 2005” has written a long article condemning Falwell’s comments. There have been others. Peter Enns has written a muddled article for the Boston Globe. I’m not sure if Enns is supporting the Bible or condemning it.  Jonathan Merritt, writing for The Atlantic, has also condemned Falwell’s comments. He at least uses the Bible to make his case but does so selectively.

McLaren’s long article about Falwell’s gun-arming message didn’t spend much time actually quoting the Bible and arguing for his opinion based on engagement with specific passages:
“For us, authentic Christianity is the loving, peaceful, just and generous way of life embodied in Jesus. It is characterized more by self-giving than self-defense, by pre-emptive peacemaking rather than pre-emptive violence.”
“Authentic Christianity” includes the whole Bible. Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not nullify our responsibility to be prepared with a good “self-defense” strategy if we are ever confronted with a San Bernardino type situation. Being armed and willing to defend ourselves, our family, and our neighbors is not being unchristian or even unloving. Self-defense can go a long way to protect the innocent from people who are intent on murder for whatever reason.
How “self-giving” should Christians in Paris or San Bernardino have been when confronted with the worst kind of human evil? Would it have been more “self-giving” by dying at the hands of murderers or would it have been more loving to stop those who were pumping bullets into people?
McLaren’s article is devoid of any actual biblical argument. Jesus tells us “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9), but He doesn’t tell us what our response should be when someone, despite our best efforts to be peaceful, still wants to steal, rape, and murder. We need to look at other parts of the Bible for help since the whole Bible is God’s word and not just the words in red.
There’s Jesus’ injunction to “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:38-39). There’s quite a difference between slapping someone across the face and someone wanting to take a baseball bat to your head or the head of your wife and children. Self-defense is a biblical option in such cases. Consider this passage from biblical case law:
“If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft” (Ex. 22:2-3).
The homeowner can assume that someone breaking into his house at night has nothing but bad intentions. He may be armed or not. The homeowner does not have to ask any questions to find out. The homeowner can respond by striking the intruder “so that he dies.” If this happens, even if the attempt was only theft (unknown to the home owner), the homeowner is cleared of all guilt in the thief’s death.

Daytime is a different story because the victim can make a better assessment of intent. If two people enter a building with AR15s and other weapons, killing these people before they kill you and others is the right thing to do. Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not apply. To put it simply, there’s no time.

In the 1959 film Ben Hur, there is a discussion between Balthasar and Judah Ben Hur about seeking revenge.
Judah: I must deal with Messala in my own way.

Balthasar: And your way is to kill him. I see this terrible thing in your eyes, Judah Ben-Hur. But no matter what this man has done to you, you have no right to take his life. He will be punished inevitably.

Overhearing their conversation, Sheik Ilderim says, “Balthasar is a good man. But until all men are like him, we must keep our swords bright!” If all those in the world had the heart of Balthasar, then there would be no need to discuss what the right response is regarding self-defense.

… CONTINUE READING

 

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